The Balearic ministry of public works, transport and housing will spend 43.7 million euros on major projects next year. This represents 75 per cent of its 58.3 million euro budget, which is 3.25 per cent of the total Balearic budgets, but does not include the budgets of the various companies which depend on the ministry, such as the railway company, and the housing institute. Details of all these budgets were explained to a parliamentary finance and budget committee yesterday by minister Francesc Quetglas. He said that his department's budget was nearly 40 per cent less than this year, because responsibility for roads has now been handed over to the island councils. Quetglas said that the bulk of the money (51 million euros) would go to the transport sector, particularly on rebuilding the railway network, and the housing sector, where 52.8 million euros would be spent on promoting subsidised housing. The minister explained that his department's priorities were environmental sustainability and social balance. He added that the architecture and housing board would spend 8.1 million euros on a regional housing plan, which will be complemented by 1.3 million euros from the central government, and 3.7 million euros to a programme for restoring and preserving the heritage and removing architectural barriers. As to transport, apart from the money for the railways, 5.9 million euros will be spent on a regular coach service to outlying towns and villages as a valid alternative to private transport. The aim is for public transport to account for 25 per cent of traffic by 2006, compared to five per cent as at present. And although responsibility for the roads has been transferred to the island councils, the road planning and construction programme will be continued with a budget of 11.8 million euros. The 51 million euros from the railway company, mentioned above, will be spent mainly on safety, improvement to services, new lines (to the university, from Sa Pobla to Alcudia) and refurbishment of stations. The housing department funding will go to renovating the Poligono de Levante area, developing a new plan for access to housing in Palma and building flats to be rented by young people and the elderly.

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